How to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” error on Windows 10?

by Alice Woods - -
12

Question

Issue: How to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” error on Windows 10?

When I do a system image for Windows 10, I get an error message “The system cannot find the file specified.” What could that mean and what should I do to fix it?

Solved Answer

“The system cannot find the file specified” is an error message which might appear when the user is trying to make the copy of his/her drive on Windows 10, Windows 7[1] or other versions. Even though the changes of the system at that time might seem insignificant, you should not ignore the error since the issue might damage your computer in the future.

Unfortunately, experts haven't identified an exact cause of “The system cannot find the file specified” alert just yet. However, they think this issue might be linked to Error Code 0x80070002 or 0x80070003 which indicate a problem with Windows Update. However, sometimes the code may differ according to the failure type, OS specificities, and other indicators. 

Even though there is still no reliable information to confirm what triggers the system cannot find the file specified error, some analysis suggests that it is related to incorrect file permission settings, abnormal registry[2] keys, missing files in system drivers, damaged specified file name, and so on.

Additionally, keep in mind that Windows might have started malfunctioning due to the power failure, broken hard disk during the driver[3]/update install, accidentally changed software install directory, and similar. Therefore, you should not ignore “The system cannot find the file specified” error neither on Windows 7, nor on Windows 10.

If you want to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” problem, attentively follow the instructions below. There you will find several ways which might help with the latter issue as well as help you fix Error Code 0x80070002. Since the cause of this problem cannot be specified, we strongly advise you try all the given methods because some might work while others don't.

Showing how to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” on Windows 10

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Our primary recommendation to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” would be to employ a professional system optimization software. Such programs are designed to take care of your computer and ensure that it won't stop malfuctioning due to minor issues. Likewise, get Reimage and run a full system scan right away.

Method 1. Check the System Log Files

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The image of system log files

  1. Navigate to the C:/Windows/inf directory and open Inf folder;
  2. Locate the setupapi.dev or setupapi.dev.log file and open it.
    The illustration showing how to find the missing file
  3. Press Ctrl + F hotkey and type “cannot find the file” in the search;
  4. Press Enter to run the search. You should get the missing file;
  5. Copy and paste it into the Windows/inf folder;
  6. The missing file should isolate the problematic system driver. Reinstall it and reboot the system.

Method 2. Modify several registry keys

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  1. Press Windows key + R, type regedit and hit Enter;
  2. To secure your current registry condition, create its backup. For this purpose, click File > Export;
  3. Enter the name for the registry backup and select All under Export;
  4. Click Save to save the backup.
    Modify registry keys in the editor
  5. Then use the left Registry Editor’s pane to navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion key;
  6. Find the RunOnce key. If such a key doesn’t exist, click on the CurrentVersion key and select New > Key;
  7. Type RunOnce to name the key;
  8. Now open the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ key. Expand it and check if the RunOnce has successfully been created;
  9. After that, close Registry Editor and restart Windows.

Method 3. Install Windows Updates

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Showing how to update your Windows

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

If you haven’t updated Windows for a long time, “The system cannot find the file specified” error is a sign that it’s about time to install all pending updates. For this purpose, you have to:

  1. Press Windows key + I and select Update & Security.
  2. Click Check for Updates and wait.
  3. When the list of available updates is revealed, install all of them.
  4. Repeat the same procedure several times to ensure that all needed updates have been installed.
  5. Don’t forget to restart the system to finish the installation of updates.

Method 4. Delete ProfileImagePath key

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Delete ProfileImagePath

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

This method applies for those Windows users who encountered “The system cannot find the file specified” error when creating system’s image or backup.

  1. Press Windows key + R, type regedit, and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to the HKEY _LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\CurrentVersion\\ProfileList and expand the ProfileList key.
  3. Check all sub-keys if they have ProfileImagePath value on the right pane.
  4. If any of these sub-keys lack for the ProfileImagePath value or if the value is empty, remove that specific sub-key.

Extra Method. Delete the Config value from the registry

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

If the “The system cannot find the file specified” error popped up when trying to reinstall network driver, you should follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type regedit, and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Network\\Config key.
  3. Right-click on the Config key and select Delete.
  4. Reboot the system.

IMPORTANT: if you cannot find the key indicated above, skip this method.

All the fixes provided above apply under different conditions, so you should perform them one by one and check which one is suitable in your case. If none of these fixes helped, please contact us and we will try to investigate your case individually. We are pretty sure that eventually you’ll fix “The system cannot find the file specified” error.

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About the author

Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Shares the knowledge about computer protection

Alice Woods is a security expert who specializes in cyber threat investigation and analysis. Her mission on Ugetfix - to share the knowledge and help users to protect their computers from malicious programs.

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